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World Building & Wow

There’s a YA series out there called The Mortal Instruments. The first three titles are City of Bone, City of Ashes & City of Glass. I am currently reading City of Glass. The books by Cassandra Clare are amazing. I wish I had a word to do them justice, but I don’t. City of Angels is the newest installment and it has just come out. While I live in a tiny Midwestern area, I am still at the end of a long hold list for the library copy of this book. I guess it was a good thing because I needed time to read the first three titles. After all the internet buzz I had to get caught up. I’m glad I did.

The reason I bring up this particular series is because Cassandra Clare is a genius at world building. I mean, I’m not a fantasy reader by any stretch, but I love YA and she has brought an incredible YA story into a world where anything is possible and I believe her. No matter how outlandish the scene, I’m right there with her believing every word she hands me. It’s magnificent, brilliant and inspiring.

By-in-large, I’m a creature of habit. I don’t always mean to be, but it comes naturally to recreate what you know. I’ve never once tried to create the impossible. I more, create a story in a world everyone is familiar with already. I’m not adventurous with my worlds. LOL. I mean in a YA I wrote a while back, I worried excessively that the MC’s living arrangements just weren’t believable. I laugh now because I missed the bigger picture. It is because I say it is, I mean it’s my story, right? I lacked the confidence to tell it in a way that closed the questions for readers. If I didn’t believe it how could anyone else?

I like to give insight to other aspiring writers, but I’m afraid I am not in the position to help you on this. World building is nothing I’ve ever tried. I am simply in awe of others’ abilities to do this. I am also inspired to give it a go. I guess today I’d like to hear from those of you who do this – create completely unbelievable worlds, and situations when you write. How do you do it? What’s the key to anchoring the story so we really believe its true and possible? I want to learn!

If you, like me, love YA but haven’t picked up the Mortal Instruments series, I highly recommend it, and don’t let the end of book one keep you from pressing on. The deflation you feel will only lead to great angst and tension in the next book. Promise! Its awesome. You will love the twists all these books take. Enjoy every word. I am!

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Kathleen Koppang

Today I want to welcome a fellow Blue Ridge writer and friend. She’s absolutely fabulous and Yes, I’m biased, but you will be too in a few minutes. Wait and see ;) Please welcome Kathleen Koppang to Musings.

Kathleen Delaney, a retired real estate broker, has authored four Ellen McKenzie mystery novels, using her real estate experience to guide Ellen. The scenes in her newest installment’s bakery kitchen required extra research. (Bakery people are not only generous with their knowledge, but also with their Cherry Danish.) Besides her novels, Kathleen has contributed to several anthologies, won a national award for short fiction, and published several articles. She lives in a century-old house in South Carolina, enjoying her two dogs, and eight grandchildren.

Hi Kathleen! Your novel Murder Half Baked is coming right around the corner. It’s the fourth in the Ellen McKenzie real estate series. Can you tell us a little bit about the series? And when the book will hit shelves?

Murder Half-Baked is the 4th in the Ellen McKenzie real estate series. I’d been to a lot of “so you want to be a mystery writer’ conferences and they all said “write what you know.” So, when I sat down to craft my first novel, I decided I’d make my protagonist a woman in her forties, getting bumped by her husband of over twenty years, and trying to figure how to start over.She gets a real estate liscense and goes home to Santa Louisa, a small town on California’s central coast. The fact that Ellen has a real estate liscense and is divorced in mid-life is the only similarity to me. After those two facts, the rest is pure fantasy and I’ve had a geat time with her. I’ve never found a dead body in any of the houses I’ve shown, I’ve never found a dead body at a horse show, and I’ve been to many, and I’ve never found one in a wine fermenting tank. I have had more than one cherry danish while researching Murder Hlf-Baked,though. It will be released on May 15th, both in trade paper back and through most of the major ebook outlets.

I’m always interested in the main characters writers create. What’s your main character, Ellen McKenzie like? Tell us, what’s the best part about her? How will readers connect?

Actually, Ellen has turned out pretty cool. She struggles to get her feet back under her as her confidence has been pretty shattered by her abrupt divorce, but she has a great attitude, refuses to be defeated, and fores forward, helped by her daughter and her aunt. Gradually, through the books, her self confidence comes back and she takes charge of her life, making it a rewarding one, and actually gets up enough courage to fall in love again.

You’ve written many things aside from this series. Do you read lots of genres too? or do you lean towards mysteries?

I love mysteries, but read just about everything. History, biogrophies, political stuff, and mainstream fiction,. I love essays, especially humor essays, and have written quite a few, several featuring my family.

I’m sure this is a silly question because writers are always writing, but have you started on a new project yet, or are you enjoying the feel of this new installment hitting shelves for now?

I have started a new series. I took one of my favorite characters from the Ellen books, her Aunt Mary McGill, and have worked up a book about her, a woman in her seventies, of strong character, great sense of himor, and just enough quirkyness to make her fun. Am in what I hope will be the final rewrite now. Probably won’t be, though.

Sounds like fun! I can’t wait to get my copy of Murder Half Baked! If you have a question or comment for Kathleen, leave it here and Kathleen will keep an eye out today. I’d love to get a fun conversation going between my writer friends and my author pals! Meanwhile, check out this glimpse of Kathleen’s newest novel…


Old Dr. Sadler is dead in the cemetery, his head bashed in by the arm of a marble angel. Ellen McKenzie has to find the killer soon … before another death puts a stop to her wedding. Dan Dunham, the groom, is Santa Louisa’s Chief of Police. The guest list is growing and Ellen’s dreams of an intimate candlelight ceremony are rapidly disappearing.


When Grace House, a halfway house for women, goes up in flames, Ellen invites them all–including a newborn–to move in with her and Dan. As a real estate agent, Ellen hopes to find a new building, yet every suspect is connected to Grace House. Are Ellen and Dan in danger? Will they ever solve the murders and get their lives back?


Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson – Review

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson is dark whirl of excitement. Trapped in a mental institution, and tortured by her own mind, Alison refuses to accept defeat. Her mother doesn’t want her, her father won’t stand up for her, and the entire community, including Alison, believes she’s guilty of murder.

Chapter after chapter Anderson delves deeper into the world of mental instability, creating characters to love and to fear. All the while, we’re drawn to Alison, hating her injustice and tearing through the pages to find the truth behind the chaos.

Allison suffers from Synesthesia. She hears colors, tastes sounds, perceives so much more than anyone else. Misunderstood and frightened, her off-kilter world begins to straighten itself when she meets Dr. Faraday. Finally, someone she trusts, someone who understands, but the story really takes off when Alison learns why Dr. Faraday understands so much about her.

Ultraviolet was an out of this world ride. I devoured the pages, desperate for more. Any lover of words will be enraptured by RJ Anderson’s tale of things unseen – by us. YA lovers will love the characters, the mystery and the final truth. I hope there’s a part two coming in the near future. My greatest thanks to Lerner Publishing Group and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this work.
This review is way shorter than I wanted it to be but since this book won’t be available for a few months online and in stores, I worked hard to avoid spoilers. It wasn’t easy because I enjoyed it so much that it all felt like it should be kept underwraps until you read it yourself. I hope I teased you enough to get it in your hands. Ultraviolet will be available in September. Son’t forget to preorder your copy asap!

You can learn more about the book and the fabulous author RJ Anderson on her website

And the winner is…

Congratulations to the lucky winner of the Easter Blog Hop & Giveaway!!!

Heather aka the Book Savvy Babe!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered to win my set of YA books this weekend, and to everyone who participated in the Easter Blogging Giveaway Hop. I love giving YA to book lovers. It’s my absolute favorite and I hope Heather will love every word.

Congrats to Heather and remember to check back next month. The entire first week of May will be another hop with a massive giveaway from ME. I’m participating in the Spring Carnival Hop & Giveaway beginning  May 1st. Over 100 blogs will be linked up with books to give, so I hope you’ll come back! I mean, you’re already following so consider yourself entered! Stop by and leave a comment that week so I know you’re interested in my giveaway.

Happy Monday!!!

Welcome to the Easter Hoppin Blog Hop YA Stop!!!

Hosted by Danielle of Lush Book Reviews

What – Easter Hoppin Blog Hop Giveaways
When – 12:01 AM April 15th until 11:59 PM April 17th
Where - All around the blogging world!

The Easter Hoppin Blog Hop has arrived! It starts now and continues until 11:59 on April 17th, so enter here then use the linky at the bottom of the page to enter everywhere! It’s time to get those summer reading books stacked up ;)

Because I LOVE YA, I have several YA books for my winner this time.

If you’d like to be entered to win,  simply:

1. Follow me anyway you choose by clicking on a link in my sidebar over there—> You can “Like” my fan page on Facebook, or follow me on twitter, or become a Google friend by following with Google Friend Connect, or Networked Blogs.

2. Leave me a comment telling me how many ways you followed – each follow is another entry.

3. Make sure I can reach you! Drop your emai line the comment if it isn’t associated with one of the ways you followed

That’s HOW you enter. Here’s WHAT you could win: (Squeeee!!!)

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.

“Tell us your secrets,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.

I am that girl.

I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.

I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia’s mother is busy saving other people’s lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia’s head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way – thin, thinner, thinnest – maybe she’ll disappear altogether.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the National Book Award finalist Speak, bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson explores one girl’s chilling descent into the all-consuming vortex of anorexia.

Shadowland by Alyson Noel

Teenage immortal Ever, newly reconnected with her boyfriend-across-the-centuries, Damen, works hard to get things right, both in the mortal and immortal worlds. Her best (mortal) friend has troubles that magick could fix, but Damen teaches Ever why this would be wrong to pursue. Meanwhile, evil immortal Roman hovers only barely offstage, Ever hooks her history teacher up with her aunt, and she rescues 13-year-old immortal witch twins only to wind up watching Damen turn parental. Noël continues to offer a satisfying brew of fantasy with genuine and engagingly promoted ethical questions in this third volume in the Immortals series.

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Valerie’s sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henri, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister’s violent death, Valerie’s world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the werewolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But no one is safe. When an expert wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them – it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the Blood Moon wanes . . . or everyone she loves will die.

I’ll post the winner’s name here on the 18th so everyone can celebrate. Good luck & Happy Hoppin!!!

*This giveaway is open to residents of the continental United States only. I hope my Intern’l friends will forgive me but I can’t afford to ship this load very far LOL I love you guys and promise an international giveaway as soon as I turn this hobby of mine into a paycheck* Hugs XOXO

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